Anyone catch that outrageous story yesterday of the little girl who was denied health care coverage because she was too skinny?! Her parents were on The Today Show stating that she was on “her growth curve”, is a picky eater, had a bit of a gag reflex problem that was being treated, and she was denied health coverage!
Insane! Like the medical editor of the show, I too am always telling parents of picky eaters, to look at their kid’s growth curve. What is important is whether or not your child is staying on THEIR growth curve. In other words, nine times out of ten, or perhaps even 99 out of a 100, there is little need to worry.
Oops! Spoke too soon; now in fact, there is something new to worry about. Your kid doesn’t eat and is too skinny, their coverage gets denied. With all the job losses and COBRA plans running out, this is not an insignificant concern. Thankfully, this particular insurance company got such a public spanking that we heard this morning that in fact, they changed their minds and this kid got her coverage.
But what about all the families who can’t get on The Today Show?
Are we mad enough to the point where we are not going to take it anymore? Are enough people getting affected that there will be enough pressure on the senators, congressmen, whoever the hell is mucking up and standing in the way of health care reform?
Okay, I know I come from Canada and I am used to socialized medicine, so my world view is different. I landed up with pneumonia when I moved here, because I couldn’t afford to see a doctor as I had no health insurance. An annoying cough landed me with full blown pneumonia; diagnosed finally when my boss at the restaurant I was working in forced me to see a doctor. Payment out of pocket. No small potatoes for a struggling, new in the city, dancer.
You forget about all that craziness though, when you are insured. Or if you are young and basically healthy, and you rarely have cause to see a doctor. At the rate we are going though, unless you fit into the highest point of the bell curve; that 50th percentile, or your kids do, and you have no pre-existing condition, maybe and just maybe you can get health care coverage.
There is little doubt that this system is whacked.
So parents, instead of pressuring your kids to eat more if they are picky eaters, pressure your local politicians, write letters, do anything you can to get some serious health care reform.
The insanity has gone too far.
Am I supposed to be happy about this? For the first time as a parent, I find myself almost getting into fights about food.
I know it pushes my buttons, because it seems dogmatic and obsessive. I hate thinking about food too much; I love to eat but I have no interest in spending too much time figuring out what to eat. (Obviously a reaction from my obsessive, dieting dancer days!)
As for teaching my kids healthy eating habits, I have focused on helping them eat a range of foods; knowing how to make sure they get the main food groups, and not to deprive themselves too much. Things have always been fairly loose, and I trust them to figure out what they need. They have always been pretty reasonable and we have never fought about food.
Being fairly politic, my kids, like many others, have played with variations of vegetarianism. First the middle daughter went whole hog. Then the oldest cut out red meat but would eat chicken and fish. The youngest, well, she seemed to do a morph of the two. Me? I am a meat-a-tarian; nothing stands between me and my T-Bone.
After returning from our time in Africa, my oldest daughter took her vegetarianism a step further. Now admittedly, it is not easy being veggie in Africa where you have game with each and every meal. I call it “My Month of Meat”. But after reading about how our food gets to us, not just the meat, but the dairy and how the animals are treated, she had had it.
I had to listen of course. For myself, I have had a bit of the “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell” attitude toward food production and distribution. I know I am sticking my head in the sand, but hey, I can’t handle that much anxiety and pressure to think about what not to eat. Okay, after the last New York Times article about the dancer getting paralyzed from eating a hamburger, I did think twice before ordering one from the Shake Shack. I prayed that I could get away with eating this last burger. Damn, it was good!
But my kids are pulling me kicking and screaming (figuratively, not literally), because they do have a point. Our food production has gotten whacked. More importantly though, in parenting, I realize that I need to take my own personal and professional attitudes, and to a degree, put them aside. This needs to be about my kids and what they are saying they need.
So with some protest, and pushing her to make sure she is getting adequate nutrition and taking enough responsibility to eat properly, I have had to go against the fact that I hate that she is doing this, and support her. It is getting easier. The more I see she eats healthy, the more I trust that she will be okay.
Maybe it will just be a stage. But for now, I am adapting. I am learning how to make different kinds of dinners, and she is cooking up a storm.
Then I slip in the T-Bone. Gotta have my meat.